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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to take a moment and share a perspective that I am confident will offend some on this board. First let me tell you about me. I am a nonresident hunter that has enjoyed North Dakota hunting for the past several years. I come up and stay three weeks. Hunt ducks the first week and then Pheasants and Sharptails the next two. I am there with my father and brother and some years a friend or two. We stay at a motel, eat at the restaurant and visit the connivance stores in the small towns in the Western third of the state. I respect the land I hunt as well as the people I meet. I am greeted enthusiastically by those who own the establishments I visit. I, to date, have hunted land that is public access.

Many of the store owners discussed with me their view of the stupidity of capping or limited nonresident hunters. A restaurant owner in Dickinson told me that this was the most profitable time of the year for him because of the out of state hunters. A radio station claimed every hotel/motel room in the city was filled for the pheasant opener. My credit card revealed that I spent a little over $1,900.00 on my trip this year.

Resident North Dakota sportsman are allowing themselves to be perceived as egocentric individuals only concerned with their own experience at the COST of others. This is not the impression I would hope you intend to leave. A quick review of the posting here would lead most to believe that the political concerns of some louder individuals on this page is (1) reduce competition for my hunting opportunities, (2) keep my costs low, (3) reduce economic opportunities for others, (4) me, me, me.

I have said it before that I believe a more effective strategy to improve everyone's outcomes is to partner with the broader interest. I strongly believe that the only way to maintain great hunting for EVERYONE is to make great hunting EVERYONE'S interest. You do this not by alienating others and putting your priorities and values ahead of others, but by building a coalition of common interests.

The continuation of great hunting in North Dakota is dependent on;
· Great Habitat

Great habitat will be available as long as it is in the interest of the farmer/ranch to maintain it. Financially we (resident and nonresident) as sportsman need to be prepared to contribute to the cost of maintaining wetlands, creating shelter and food plots, and managing with a mind on wildlife production. Some here are quick to point out that the state owns the wildlife. That may be true but the farmer/rancher carries the bulk of the responsibility for raising that wildlife.
· Public Access
Publicly funded access programs need to be expanded. A culture of being thankful and appreciative of that access needs to be nurtured by sportsman and also local chamber of commerce members.
· Management
Population management based on sound research is needed to adjust season lengths, limits, and harvest techniques. By maximizing wildlife revenues through license fees and other taxes, great habitat can be sustained and expanded. Great habitat increases wildlife populations. Increased populations can sustain greater harvest.

What can sportsman do?
· Recognize that either all interests win or lose together on these issues.
· Support initiatives that increase (not limit) sportsman recreational days. Beyong the obvious interst of the sportsman it is the interest of the businessman and will lead to increase wildlife revenues.
· Be willing to financially support through higher license costs (both resident and nonresident) funding wildlife programs.
· Acknowledge that the farmer/rancher should not be expected to provide use of their property for your recreation without compensation. Persons who golf don't expect it to be free. We as sportsman should value our heritage to the point we will financially support it.
· Realize that those who feed their family by operating a convenience store, gas station, restaurant, sporting goods store, or hotel benefit from nonresident hunters.

Specifically I would like to see the following type of initiatives pursued as opposed to what appears to be a fear based strategy that is aimed at limiting the number of others and hoping everything else will stay the same approach.
§ Increase the number of waterfowl management zones (to say 12 or so) and require state duck stamps for each zone which are valid for one week and no more than one stamp valid at anyone time. This may spread out the pressure and increase revenues). If the biologists believe capping each zone each week is needed then I would support that idea.
§ Institute a "Hunting Guide Tax" on person's utilizing this option. Moneys should be used to secure public access and address leasing by outfitters.
§ Person's utilizing the services of a guide should not be allowed to utilize public access lands.
§ Establish a resident goose season stamp for the early season.
§ Institute Upland Game Stamp valid for 5 day periods. Allow multiple purchases if desired.
§ Increase (double) resident and nonresident license fees.
§ Offer financial incentives ($1 to $2 an acre) to all persons entering into CRP contracts to sign on a public access lease for the length of the contract.

I realize that these ideas would significantly increase the license cost to average hunters. However, I purchase decoys, guns, shells, cloths, dogs, dog food, etc., because of how much I value the experience of hunting. As a nonresident going from $100.00 licensing costs to say $300.00 is not going to deter me and I suspect it will not deter many others. The last statement is especially true if the hunting and access becomes even better as I think it will. The approach I offer here serves the landowners needs, the business owners needs, the sportsman's needs, and the resources needs.

…. Just my thoughts …
 

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WHoopie! You're 'great' plan is going to open up another couple hundred thousand acres to public hunting. Sweet! We get a couple hundred thousand more acres of public land that is already overcrowded and we get to lose access to the millions of acres of private lands we once were allowed to hunt because they were gobbled up by NR's who either bought them and posted them, leased them and posted them or paid to use a guide who either bought or leased them and then posted them.

I hate to burst your bubble but Hoeven has already pledged to expand the PLOTS programs anyway. Anymore great ideas?

"Persons who golf don't expect it to be free."

I'm not even going to dignify that with a response. I can't believe you just compared hunting to golf...I thought your intention was for us to take you seriously??? :roll:
 

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I can't disagree with much you wrote

I would just add that most of the towns & businesses you worry about have always had hunters in them before 30,000 NR's started coming. Alot were Residents that now won't or don't want to compete & put up with all the hassles this has created.

Freelance Residents have always spent the vast majority of the $$$ in these towns. That has been forgotten or many have been mislead to believe it is predominately NR's that fill their cafes - Bars - Motels - Stores & that just ain't so. (maybe now)??? but not that many years ago not the case. These towns can only accomodates so many at once - Or sustain quality hunting for so many in a season. (which is 3 or 4 of the 1st weeks for NR's)

I agree fees have to rise & the moneys be used to improve access - I'm not positive that residents should have to pay the exact same amounts as Non Residents - But I'm willing to pay alot more.

I think & hope most of what you just posted will happen - & most of what you have posted has been mentioned in bits & pieces here for somtime now. :roll: (Patiences Fetch Patiences) I think it's a stigma & false notion that most here are me me me - any more than most NR's are Me me me in their concerns & desires. I agree we have to find ways to compensate landowners - so they are not tempted to sell out to the commercial interests - cause that will only make things worse for all Freelance Hunters.

Plus the vast majority want to " Freelance" not use guides & outfitters.

GEEZ - now I'm starting to talk to myself :roll: :eyeroll: :D
 

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Dennis,

It's not offensive because it's different, but because it lacks internal consistency, is blatantly unfair to res. sportsmens, and is self serving while pretending not to be.

Please think about what you write:
The hotels are full, but you think more NR's should come in.
Farmers are responsible for all habitat and game production, but you hunt public land.
Capacity is a fixed resource, and there are already two or more groups for every active field, but you want more folks to come in.
You think caps are "stupid" but later you support them.

(Frankly, the third person rhetorical technique you use makes me sick.)
YOU perceive us as egocentric individuals - and you are sadly mistaken.
YOU would like to cast it is reducing economic opportunities, whereas the truth is limiting the explosion and refusing to sell everything of value in the state.
YOU think it's "me, me , me" - right back at you.
Everyone's interest? - YOU mean YOUR interest.
Common interest means YOUR interest.

Otherwise, all your proposals are old news, or self serving.

M.
 

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I'm thinking the "cap" may go away...this will be an interesting battle, & I believe the resident sportsman has been underestimated, and the hotel/hospitailty groups are really posturing now as they believe the cap has really hurt business.

This is what I would like to see....all NR licenses must be bought at G&F, phone or internet....The G&F finally has it all set up to cross reference...this will end abuses & there has been plenty of abuse!!!!

Seperate the upland and waterfowl...I believe the cap was reached prematurely by people who had no intention to hunt ducks...but for $10 more they got the waterfowl anyway.

keep a zone system in place.
 

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A few points I'd like to make about your opinion.

"Offer financial incentives ($1 to $2 an acre) to all persons entering into CRP contracts to sign on a public access lease for the length of the contract."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this would fly because it is federal money and not the state's. This conflict won't work, I've heard it's been brought up and been shot down before. But if something ever passed that would grant extra subsidies for opening the hunting, I'd probably be for it. But we're talking reality.

"As a nonresident going from $100.00 licensing costs to say $300.00 is not going to deter me and I suspect it will not deter many others."

That would deter probably half of the NR's in my mind. That's just too much. Don't forget what ND resident's make for income too, it's second to last in the nation.

"Realize that those who feed their family by operating a convenience store, gas station, restaurant, sporting goods store, or hotel benefit from nonresident hunters."

Who do you think were keeping these businesses alive before you came here? It was the locals and the resident sportspersons. We'd still go to some of these communities if they weren't already booked a year in advance by others. If you want to look at my credit card bills and what I spend in small communities, feel free. It's a lot more than $1,900.

When the state turns all commercial, you'll be able to afford to hunt here, but a lot of residents won't. So then many will be forced to move out of state to make a higher wage so they can afford to come back and hunt. Don't forget that residents live here 365/year and support the state all year long, not just a couple weeks. And stripping one of the most valuable commodities (hunting) available for residents will force even more residents out of the state. The state needs to grow in taxpayers, not decline.

Sure you make some good points, but those involved already know what's going to be feasible and what's not. The state needs to start simple to get the commercialization here under control. That's why the Hunter Pressure Concept is such a good one. We didn't make this up, the Game & Fish did and they're the experts on the subject. In future years, than we can look into the possibility of zones and other side issues.

I'm sorry, I'm not as rich as you and can't afford trips like yours in my own state.
 

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Independent of caps & zones (whether they are implemmented or not) I would suggest that ND do two additional things:

Split the two licenses (upland and waterfowl) and charge $60 to $75 each. Still cheaper than SD.

Move the waterfowl licenses to two 5 day seasons or 10 days total. This will deter (slightly) the hardcore duck hunters. Even if only 1 in 4 NRs hunt more than 10 days, by reducing their number of days - NR hunter pressure is reduced. It is likely these "hardcore" guys that hunt every day are placing more pressure on the resource than the average NR that simply hunts a few days and returns home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I don't think what I wrote is inconsistent. Yes, it is self serving as it is expressing my views of what will lead to sustained good hunting. Although it could of been better presented (as I reread it), the premise that we need to address the interests of the many to stabilize the situation I feel is very accurate. As for the freshness of the ideas I will accept they are old news but I don't see them getting support.

Matt, I realize that resident hunters had greater access in the past. I just don't believe that by capping nonresident hunters you are going to revert to 1977 status. If the landowners becom sufficiently angered at attempts to reduce their capacity to earn a living so the residents can hunt with less cost and hassel, they may reduce access no matter what. Hasn't some of that been experienced already? I would add to that if it becomes financially to the benefit of the farmer to drain wetlands and farm fence row to fence row access will not matter too much anyway.

I would like to state that my party and I had a terrific hunt this year. As I said I was in the Western third of the state. Dickinson to Northwest of Minot. We saw hunters but I never felt it was crowded. I hunted PLOTS, State lands and land the owner allowed public access.

Again I will admit to ignorance to what the resident hunter contribution to the Watford City economy was years ago. I suspect this year nonresident hunters added much.

Sorry that MRN got sick from this post.

In the words of John Hancock, "No idea is so dangerous it can't be discussed". - But I guess and idea can make MRN sick.

P.S. I don't play golf but was trying to point out that financial incentive will determine the long term land use patterns that are the greatest factor in wildlife management and that we as sportsman should be prepared to pay for it.

P.S.S. - MRN - Why don't you at least fork over the membership money to keep this site active?
 

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All this talk about caps and places to hunt is ok. But the real issue is the quality. If we (residents hunters) do not get together and slow down the Non resident hunters (Cap) and choke off the guide/outfitter who leases a boat load of land. Nobody will have a quality hunt.

Without a quality place to hunt how many of you NR will leave your home areas and come here to hunt?

Dean
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think NDJ, Miller, and Prairrie hunter all make excellent points and have some good ideas.

Sorry to disappoint you but I am not rich, but do have an understanding wife and a good job. I do think we need to stick together, increase revenue available to secure quality land.

Just my thoughts.

And as a guest of the state I can't express how much I love your country, and I do hope to be a resident some day!
 

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good point guppy, and i don't think that many NR's and legislators know how many people live in ND just for the quality hunting. If ND turns into a louisiana or texas then why would people like us want to live here. it seems like they should care a little more about people's money that is payed into the economy 365 days a year rather than a temporary influx in income from NRs when the duck numbers are high. i know if hunting goes down the drain here, it will make me consider moving out of state. i wonder what the legislators against caps think of that when they always talk about the great ND "outmigration"
 

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"P.S.S. - MRN - Why don't you at least fork over the membership money to keep this site active?"

Wow, its all about money to you NR folks. I'm to be impressed you coughed up a couple bucks to the site? Is this like a pre-pubescent dare? A juvenile macho thing? Are you playing on Daddy's computer again??? In the off chance you're actually post-pubescent, I'll choose to send anybody $$ if and when I decide I would like to. No other reason, certainly not you. You kill me.

Now go ask someone over the age of 12 why farmers can't drain wetlands when every they want to, as you suggested.

M
 

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OK, David, I am going to weigh in on this. I AGREE WITH YOUR POINTS ACROSS THE BOARD! The fact is that some "sportsmen" feel that they have the right to make their pass-time a legislative issue unaware that this is what got them to this point in the first place (contrary to popular belief, it is not fee-hunters, NR, or anything else).

NDSU did a study and confirmed that resident hunters outspend NR hunters. This is a fact and I am not arguing with it. It, however, did not specify where those hunters were hunting. I think the days of driving to your favorite "watering hole" and having vast tracts of land open to hunting are over, and no amount of legislation will get them back. Landowners have decided that they want to go about things in a different way. Most land that is posted, if you care to research it, has nothing to do with fee-hunting or any other of the supposed problems. The landowners decided (sometimes independently, sometimes corporately) to end that and to post their land.

As for the comment about golf, I know that many "sportsmen" will argue that they are two different things, to non-sportsmen they are the same. Just because that isn't your perspective doesn't make it invalid. Both activities require lots of space. Some areas are better than others, and generally, the cost reflects this. It is an outdoor activity that allows people exercise and is enjoyed by an enormous number of people. Both require equipment to be carried by the participants.

What has always boggled me is that people will spend $100's on guns and all the other "supplies" (decoys, wardrobe, et al.) they need to hunt, and then presume that their right to hunt (which they do have) also entitles them to "opportunities" to hunt. By having the "right" to hunt, I mean that it is not illegal (provided other laws are obeyed). The opportunity to hunt is a priviledge and most who treat it that way have places that they can hunt.

David, you make an excellent point that the state does own the game, but that it is largely up to the owner of the land to manage the game. I am in favor of sportsmen's groups that help managment (I know some that will provide feeders to the landowner) and sometimes they offer this and other services in exchange for open access. Most, if not all, of the posted land doesn't receive anything from the state to help in the raising of wildlife. It is private land and changing the laws for non-residents will not open up any of this land.

I am a baseball fan. I love watching major-league baseball. I enjoy going to games. It is a part of my heritage (something I did countless times with my grandpa). This fall, there were play-off games in Minneapolis. I would have loved to have gone to them, but they would have cost a lot of money and many of the tickets are purchased by people and groups with more money than me. Just because I love baseball and it is a part of my heritage doesn't give me the right to expect that I will be allowed to go there free of charge.

In state, I am a resident of ND. I pay my state taxes. I attended NDSU for my undergraduate degree. I had to pay tuition (this organization is funded by my tax dollars far more directly than landowners). What if a group came along and said, "OK, Fargo and Grand Forks, I have to pay too much money for my degree. I don't care what it does to your local economies, I don't think you should be allowed to have nearly as many out-of-state students (that includes MN). ND students spend a lot more money on gas, food, lodging, etc. and if you don't cater to them the price will go down. I have a right to education. I am willing to pay some, but not nearly as much. Further, I think there should be a limit on the number of items that can be sold to out-of-state individuals. This includes groceries, gas, electricity, etc. How many times have I stood in line behind someone trying to write an out of state check when they aren't accepted..." This is the same logic that is often used by "sportsmen" to justify their agenda. There is this sense that they can say that to Watford City, or even Dickinson.

My question to resident sportsmen that insist that they support these businesses more than NR do is this: "If you only have time to come out to these small towns once per year, how are you helping their economies more than a NR who does the same thing?" If you are in these towns more frequently, then you probably can set up networks of friendship with people there that will allow them to cater to you. Generally, landowners don't charge to their friends, they charge the people they don't know.

David, I agree with your "list of concerns of resident sportsmen" as that is how I read their posts too. They want to return to a Nirvana that isn't coming back and are trying to get there by forcing their wishes, legislatively, onto others. What they are arguing for is legislative protection of their pass-time, something no other group has or sees itself as entitled to.

I am afraid that the battle lines have been drawn and there is no one to blame but themselves for the current problem of access to good land. And, if access to good land and "opportunities" weren't a problem, then there would be no over-hunting. The problem isn't lack of land or space, but the fact that a large portion of it is locked up. Rather than face that they have had something to do with this, resident "sportsmen" try to blame everyone else and portray themselves as the victim.
 

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Ummm Westerner the only places there are real problems with access is in your neck of the praire - where there are pheasants & a few waterfowl areas that have SOB's. You like pay for access ??? you got it ??? You want to be over ran by NR's that like to pay to hunt ??? I hope you get want you want & keep what you got.

But it is not whats best for the majority of ND or ND towns & like it or not Freelance Hunters are by far the majority of hunters that come to ND. :-?

Don't keep trying to make this something it isn't :roll:
 

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I just don't understand those that have to paint and fuel these debates as black/white, switch on/off or all/nothing. What cannot be debated is that the quality of hunting in this state has seriously degraded in many respects. Not a coincidence is that this quality decline has come during the same period we've experienced unprecedented increases in the number of hunters and guiding operations.

Within this context, the "let 'em all in" philosophy is equally unreasonable as the "shut down the borders" one. The reasonable solution, for all, is somewhere in the middle. Now you can rationally debate where the right "middle" is, but some cap or other reasonable restrictions to deal with this pressure does not mean one side "won" and other "lost". The HPC is the perfect example, for it produces a cap this year higher than most resident hunters wanted and lower than most hospitality folks wanted. A boss once told me the sign of a perfect compromise is when neither party walks away feeling they got what they wanted.

In order to be willing to accept this approach, you must accept that hunting in this state represents a larger economic impact than that which occurs each fall. Hunting, you see, is our Rocky Mountains, warm sandy beaches, warm weather, higher wages, world class theater, fine dining, etc. all wrapped up in one. Hunting not only causes some to visit our state each fall, but causes many of us to call ND home year round. When it comes to general hunting, and outstanding bird hunting especially, it is the single lifestyle amenity that no other state can offer better than ND. ND hunters are slightly different than those from other states in that hunting meant just enough more to us that we gave up the career and other personal opportunities that caused nonresidents to live somewhere else. For many of us, it was only the hunting that made enough of a difference compared to other factors to keep us here or cause us to move back.

David, this leads me to the one point on which we can agree. The solution needs to take into consideration what's good for ND - all of ND. This means resident sportspersons must accept pressure levels they consider uncomfortable, to provide rural areas with the fall economic boost. But this also means we must return from over pressure, so we regain the one feature that caused many thousands to stay/come back. You can't "let 'em all in" each fall and expect to retain/attract the tens of thousands year long residents who view hunting as more than a three week venture to another state.

David, as far as your other solutions, I've posted my responses to them following one or more of your earlier posts. For waterfowl, there is no magic bullet that can solve the pressure problems without reducing hunter days. More access to allow more hunters only means more pressure that only results in more gunning for the Sodaks earlier in the year. The "stadium" cannot be made any larger for waterfowl. Additional zones, for now, are DOA. We learned from the last session that zones only pit hunter vs. hunter and hospitality vs. hospitality from different areas of the state. For upland, there is room to grow the stadium through additional public access, but we cannot keep pace with the current pressure increases. The answer lies in a combination of increasing public access and reducing hunter days. Modest license increases are appropriate and necessary (res and nonres), but we don't wish to price anyone out of the opportunity to experience the ND outdoors.

Westerner, you and I share very different viewpoints and don't understand one another well at all. If hunting were a "pass-time" of mine, I'd sell out for much higher wages and visit ND about 12 days each fall. That's what I did up until four years ago. Because hunting is much more to me than a "pass-time", I decided to relocate here, giving up business and other opportunities, and now I spend about 25 days hunting ND each year. This is good for the ND economy - the entire ND economy. I'm not asking for sympathy; I'm just asking for a little recognition there is a legitimate reason for all of ND to find compromise to regain quality hunting opportunities for hunters so passionate about the sport they decided to call ND home.

I don't accept that ND sportspersons efforts to protect/regain quality hunting opportunities are the leading cause of posted or inaccessible land. I have heard of isolated instances where this is true, but for each one of those, there are many times more examples where posting is for family/friends, landowner hunting, fee-generation and, yes, even leased to an outfitter so the landowner can watch a football game without answering the door or phone a dozen different times with requests for access.

The only "battle Lines" that have been drawn are by those on extreme sides of these issues. I'm confident the rest of us can find meaningful compromise between those two sets of lines.
 

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I suppose I am going to get raked for loving SD, and told I should just move back there, but I think there is something to be said here.

I went back to SD last weekend, and hunted Pheasants. While there I met up with four guys from Ohio, and two from WI. Both stated, and I quote, that the reason they put in for SD was that they would rather have a high quality hunt now and then than a degraded hunt every year. Now I do not agree tha ND hunting is "Degraded", but it is hard to argue the idea that the pressure here does not push birds through into SD faster than Mother Nature explains. I have had some really good hunts here this fall, but the competition is unreal!!!! Now people have to realize that that is real. I think many people had a much lower quality experiance this year, and growth of NR numbers will slow down just a bit.

The other thing I really agree with is Dan saying that many residents stay here for the hunting opportunities, in exchange for the lower wages and such. I know of several people moving south to live in SD and work in ND, so they can have there cake and eat it to. And changing rules is not going to lead to a long term posting of land in ND. For a year, maybe two yes, but time heals all wounds, and eventually we would al be neighbors again. Tom
 

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Dan,
I respect your ability to keep a level head in an otherwise heated issue. You manage to consistently stay in the middle and I respect that. I also (grudgingly) agree with you that "hospitality" prople will have to settle for limits lower than they are comfortable with. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts as they are intelligent, well thought out, and not unnecessarily inflammatory. Even if we don't agree, you are someone I feel I can at least talk to.

My comments about "pass-time" are not meant to "de-value" the experience but to point out that this is how "non-sportsmen" view it. It is a valid activity. While I respect the importance of this activity for you, the fact is that very few people live in North Dakota for the wages or increased business opportunities.

I hope I can remain/become as level headed as you consistently are. It is people like you that will help the "sportsmen's" case enormously!
 
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